GAMBLING: Region’s paying a high price

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Gambling is so often the preserve of the poor and the desperate. Sadly, too many find themselves in such financial straits in the North East.

It is all too easy to be lured into betting, and the growth of online gambling is making it even easier, all from the comfort of your own home or even out and about with a mobile phone.

Now it emerges that bookmakers are apparently targeting youngsters by using children’s cartoon characters to promote their online service.

I am glad to see that the ASA is investigating, particularly as the Gambling Commission has found that, shockingly, 450,000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week. Youngsters are particularly susceptible as playing online games is part of their culture.

The Local Government Association has revealed that one in 10 children aged between 11 and 15 is ‘following’ gambling firms on social media.

It is ironic that it was a Labour Government that liberalised the gaming industry, and it is those in its traditional heartlands, such as this region, who are paying a particularly high price.

Jonathan Arnott,

UKIP North East MEP